Saskatchewan’s Energy and Resources minister is applauding the province’s new online mineral-staking registry.

Yesterday, the province announced it has received 522 new claims under the computerized registry since it was rolled out in December.

The 1.46 million hectares that have been claimed are five times more than the level reached under the ground-staking system.

Tim McMillan says he’s not sure how many jobs were lost when the province switched over to the new system.

But he’s confident the new registry is creating opportunities for many people to take advantage of.

When asked if he thought the growing rush of claims would compromise environmental standards, the minister had this to say:

“I would say with any development, in any point along the chain from exploration through to mine development or mine operation, we do have a high level of what we consider acceptable…and we expect all our partners and anyone who wants to invest in Saskatchewan to live up to that high standard.”

McMillan couldn’t immediately say if the electronic staking system means the government is obligated to contact First Nations whose land is staked online.

However, he does say the triggers that govern the duty to consult process remain the same:

“But the same rules would be in place as were in place around those issues.  But whether it was electronic staking or the more traditional method, those same triggers would be in place.  Those are all maintained.”

Under the new registry, mineral claims are now being confirmed within five business days.

That’s much quicker than the ground staking system which could take as long as two months.